Egypt's vice president has said that President Hosni Mubarak's son will not seek to succeed his father in elections later this year, the latest concession to anti-government protesters, according to state television.
It was widely believed that Mubarak was grooming his son Gamal, 46, to succeed him despite significant public opposition.
The vice president's comments appear to be the latest gestures to mollify anti-Mubarak protesters who have been protesting for the immediate ouster of the president for 10 days.
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Suleiman, in an interview with state television broadcast Thursday, said the government needs more time for its police force to rebuild, for changes to be enacted to the nation's constitution and for the government or organize an election, CBS News' Khaled Wassef reports.
Suleiman, who Mubarak appointed as the first vice president during his 30-year rule, also said the protest movement in Cairo's Tahrir Square is destroying the country and is now only carrying out agendas of foreign nations, Wassef reports.
On Wednesday, pro-Mubarak forces instigated violence against anti-government protesters, whose demonstrations up to that point had been peaceful. Amid the violence, which claimed eight lives, suspicion was widespread that Mubarak's regime unleashed a force of paid thugs and plainclothes police to crush their unprecedented movement. The Interior Ministry deny any of their police forces were involved in the attacks.
Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq acknowledged that the attack "seemed to have been organized" and said elements had infiltratated what began as a demonstration against the protesters to turn it violent. But he said he didn not know who, promising an investigation into who was behind it.
" for everything that happened yesterday because it's neither logical nor rational," Shafiq told state TV. "Everything that happened yesterday will be investigated so everyone knows who was behind it."
Shafiq, a former air force general appointed by Mubarak over the weekend, said he was willing to go to Tahrir to meet protesters but urged them to disperse. At a press conference aired on state TV, Shafiq defended Mubarak's announcement this week that he would serve out the remaining seven months of his term. "Would it be dignified for a nation for its president to leave immediately? .. There are ethics that must be observed."
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Also, the prosecutor-general for the former interior minister whose police led a bloody crackdown against the protesters last week and against two other former ministers who were among the unpopular millionaire businessmen wielding heavy influence in the previous government.
The military finally took its first muscular action after a barrage of deadly automatic weapons fire against the protesters before dawn Thursday. Soldiers pushed back the pro-government attackers and took up positions between the two sides. Then Thursday afternoon, the soldiers largely stepped aside as the anti-government side surged ahead in the afternoon in resumed clashes.
With volleys of stones, the protesters pushed back their rivals swarmed onto a nearby highway overpass that their regime supporters had used as a high ground to batter them.
At the same time, Mubarak supporters carried out a string of attacks on journalists around the square. The U.S. State Department condemned the attacks, calling them a "concerted campaign to intimidate" the media - the latest in mounting criticism by Mubarak's top ally.
One Greek print journalist was stabbed in the leg with a screwdriver, and a photographer was punched, his equipment smashed. Arab TV network Al-Jazeera reported two correspondents attacked. The army started rounding up journalists, possibly for their own protection.
Egypt's vice president has said that President Hosni Mubarak's son will not seek to succeed his father in elections later this year, the latest concession to anti-government protesters, according to state television